Since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United have become a shadow of their former selves. From on-field performances to off-field issues, the club is lacking behind all the other top clubs in Europe, something nobody would have envisaged a decade back. A lot of that is down to the Glazer family’s disastrous ownership stint. Despite myriad problems afflicting the club, the Glazers are set to receive a huge cash windfall in the form of their bi-annual dividends payment on Friday.
Former United defender Gary Neville has hit out at the owners and publicly demanded that instead of taking the dividends out of the club, the money should be invested in improving the club’s facilities.
The 20-time English champions have always prided themselves on having the best in-class talent and infrastructure. However, those days have long gone with city rivals Manchester City overtaking them in terms of top notch facilities. Even in terms of players, United’s rivals have gazumped them as seen with the likes of Erling Haaland joining Pep Guardiola and Liverpool winning the race for Darwin Nunez.
The stadium and training facilities are in dire need of a facelift. On the playing side, the club have yet to make a signing for new manager Erik ten Hag as they are still locked in negotiations with Barcelona for Frenkie de Jong. They are still haggling over the fee, and frustrated fans will be even more angry to learn that the difference in valuation between both clubs – around £11 million or €13 million – would be offset by the exact dividend amount being paid to the Glazers.
The Glazer Family should NOT be taking £11m in dividends this Friday. It isn’t right with the investment needed in the team,stadium and training ground. The clubs cash position is low compared to previous years. An announcement is needed to halt it for the next 3 years minimum.
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) June 20, 2022
The former skipper also asked the owners to stop the practice of taking dividends for the next three years considering the level of debt the club is reeling under.
“The Glazer Family should NOT be taking £11m in dividends this Friday. It isn’t right with the investment needed in the team, stadium and training ground. The club’s cash position is low compared to previous years. An announcement is needed to halt it for the next 3 years minimum,” Neville’s tweet read.
United revealed the level of dividend they would be handing out after the results of their third quarter of the financial year in May.
“The bi-annual cash dividend of $0.09 per share will be paid on 24 June 2022, to shareholders of record on 6 June 2022,” the report said. That amounts to £11 million. Dividend has been paid to shareholders every six months since 2016, even when Covid-19 impacted the globe.
Last month, United’s financial report revealed that the English giants’ net debt had increased by £52 million to to £496 million, a rise of 11 per cent. The club is reeling under total debt of a seismic £591 million. Such figures don’t augur well for the club’s future.
Massive protests have taken place last season against the owners and United chief executive Richard Arnold was forced to meet disgruntled fans in a bid to explain the club’s situation.
He admitted that the club’s finances were badly managed under Ed Woodward and now the club are in a difficult situation financially.
“We spent a billion pounds on players. We have spent more than anyone in Europe. I’m not thrilled where we are. It doesn’t sit easy with me and I worry how we get this sorted for the future. What’s happened is we have f***ing burned through cash. You can’t go to our training ground and say ‘show me where the £1billion is because we haven’t spent money well historically.
“For the future, for investing in a new stadium and a latest-and-greatest training ground we’ve got to do something. We’ve got to get investors in. I need that to do what I want for the club. I’ve got to have more cash now because no club in the world has the money to build a new stadium. You either borrow it or invest it. The money has got to come from somewhere,” Arnold was quoted as saying.